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The Inga Beale effect

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As Inga Beale leaves Lloyd's of London, we look at the way she's impacted the insurance industry... Last month, Inga Beale, the CEO of Lloyd’s of London, announced that she would be stepping down from her job. After five years at the helm of one the most famous insurance markets in the world, she’s become instantly recognisable - not just for her calm and capable handling of hot-button issues like Brexit, the progress of InsurTech and modernising the City, but also for the substantial amount of change that she’s brought about since starting her tenure at Lloyd’s. What impact has this female figurehead in insurance had on the market since taking the reins? We thought there was no better time to look back on the legacy that Inga Beale leaves behind, five years after she started. Foregrounding diversity Joining the Corporation in 2014, the announcement of Inga Beale’s appointment was greeted with much fanfare across the insurance sector: after all, she was the first woman at the helm of Lloyd’s in its entire 350-year history. Alongside an impeccable record - including time as the CEO of Canopius and time spent as the Global Chief Underwriting Officer at Zurich Insurance Group - she also came to the role as an established campaigner for diversity in the workplace and beyond. Indeed, the ‘Inga Beale’ effect has seen diversity, inclusion and accountability rapidly move to the forefront of many companies’ priorities - and this is a trend that’s showing no sign of dissipating any time soon. Beale herself came out as bisexual in 2008 and said in 2015 that she wanted ‘the London insurance market to celebrate diversity and ensure we are an attractive, globally relevant and inclusive sector.’ The wider market Since starting her role as the CEO of Lloyd’s, she’s done just that. Despite some initial resistance to her appointment, Beale’s firm but fair approach, combined with several prominent speeches calling out the ‘grey’ and male-dominated world of insurance, laid the groundwork for her magnum opus in diversity, the Inclusive Behaviours Pledge. Completed in partnership with Tulsi Naidu, Zurichs UK’s Chief Executive, the pledge was designed specifically to create a more inclusive working environment for staff across the insurance industry, which has traditionally struggled to attract women and people from diverse backgrounds. Diversity has consistently been a problem within the insurance industry, especially over the past few years as insurance has sought to modernise itself. Though there are initiatives to improve diversity and representation within the workplace - such as the Women in Insurance Summit and the fact that four in five Insurers have adopted diversity strategies - only one in five top jobs (at board & executive level) are held by females. Beale and Naidu’s pledge has aimed to tackle this, alongside kick-starting a movement that will lead to a social and cultural shift in the workplace. Signed by 50 major firms, including AXA, Willis Towers Watson and Marsh, the pledge was undoubtedly the event that will have the biggest impact on how Beale is seen in the future. It laid the groundwork for a more inclusive workforce, addressing all potential forms of discrimination including disability, gender, religion, race and sexual orientation, setting out a framework for leaders to implement in the workplace, including clear policies for reporting inappropriate behaviour. For many, it looks like the insurance industry is finally modernising and Inga Beale has played a large part in driving that change - not only through the Inclusive Behaviours Pledge, but through the fact that she, as a woman, has held such a prominent place in the insurance industry for so long. Following this up with events like Lloyd’s first ever ‘diversity festival’, Dive In, she will certainly leave a lasting impression. Waving goodbye Five years of hard work have paid off for Beale. Her commitment to campaigning for a more diverse workforce ensured that she came top of the list of inspiring LGBT Chief Executives in 2015, followed by becoming the 121st president of the Chartered Insurance Institute in 2017. Inga Beale has certainly been a trailblazer and in the male dominated world of insurance, she’s been a key inspiration for women and people from diverse backgrounds trying to break into the insurance industry. She’s also brought about change: in fact, Lloyd’s now has a 50:50 gender balance across their executive committee and many recruitment agencies are now seeing increased demand for more diverse candidates from their clients. Though there’s still a long way to go, her legacy will definitely be remembered. Working towards diversity with IDEX Consulting At IDEX Consulting, we value talent above everything else, and we embrace this approach in our work and in the hires we make. If you’re thinking about taking your next step in the insurance industry, why wait? Browse our vacancies in insurance today.